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U.S. Cellular's ZTE Imperial

Sporting 4G LTE capabilities, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and a dual-core processor, the Imperial is a ZTE midrange phone that's actually worth considering. It's currently available from U.S. Cellular for one penny after users sign a two-year contract.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

A bulky construction

Though I'm usually partial to white devices, and the use of the color doesn't look bad on this handset, the ZTE Imperial is hefty -- really hefty. At 0.45 inch thick and weighing 5.43 ounces, it's bulky in the hand.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

Android 4.1 in a pinch

The phone runs on Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean and features your standard complement of Google apps, such as Gmail, Google+, Chrome, Local, Maps with Navigation, Messenger, and several Google Play store portals.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

Not easy to see in sunlight

The handset's 4-inch IPS display has a 480x800-pixel resolution. The touch screen is responsive to my swipes and taps, and menu icons and texts appear clear. However, the display has a narrow viewing angle, and as such, it's even more difficult to view outdoors.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

A solid 5MP shooter

The 5-megapixel camera has several photo options. A few include flash, touch focus, a 4x digital zoom, 10 Instagram-esque filters, five shooting modes that include panorama and rapid capture, two scene modes, compositional lines, five photo sizes (ranging from 640x480 to 2,592x1,944 pixels).

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

Underneath it all

Powering the device is a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and a 2,500mAh battery that yields a reported talk time of up to 12 hours.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET
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